Weekend overeating used to happen to me. During my Uni days back in New Zealand, from Monday to Friday I was very strict with my food and routine. My weeks would consist of studying, cooking all my meals at home (more like eating mums healthy home-cooked meals), snacking on fruit and vegetables and avoiding anything with sugar in it. I would also exercise everyday whether it was heading outside for a run or going to the gym.
As soon as Saturday morning hit, this was a different story. My meals weren’t so routine and structured and there was no way I was exercising. I would snack on biscuits, crackers, cheese and mum and I would often stop of at the local cafes for coffee and a slice. But the best part was my baking, and I don’t mean healthy superfood raw balls like I do now, I mean real Edmonds (traditional New Zealand recipe book) buttery, sugar-filled brownies! Or another favourite of mine was chocolate afghans! Then I would spend Monday and Tuesday coming off my sugar high and trying to get back into my healthy routine. It was a bad cycle I was stuck in and I did this for a long time.
I see this affects many of my clients. Most commonly they are too strict on themselves during the week, and then spend the weekend eating out at restaurants, ordering take-out, junk food binging, excessive alcohol and late nights out!
If this sounds familiar then I am writing this post for you! I have put together a few tips and tricks that helped me in the past, and I hope they can now help you to stop weekend overeating.
1. Become more mindful.
The key habit behind binge eating is mindlessness. Emotional eating (link) affects everyone but eating from an empty heart rather than an empty stomach can lead to a few problems. If you start craving certain foods, ask yourself why? Is it because it is the only food in your kitchen or is it because you feeding your emotions?
2. Keep your routine during the weekend.
Don’t let your routine be forgotten just because you are not going to work. Go to bed at the same time each night, wake up at the same time and continue with your normal morning routine. Wake up, meditate, visualize how your day is going to go, stretch out your body – maybe a quick yoga session, make a healthy breakfast and hit the gym for a quick HIIT session. Pretend it is just another day!
3. Cheat meal not a cheat weekend.
I don’t like the term cheat meal. It makes you feel like you are cheating and with this comes negative emotions, which you should not be having with food. Think of it just as a meal that you wouldn’t eat everyday. It is OK to have an unhealthy meal every now and then – it is normal and I definitely recommend you allow yourself to have these meals. However once the meal turns into a whole weekend of unhealthy meals then we have an issue.
4. Stop the negative thoughts.
“Good food”, “bad food”, “I have been good with my food” and “I have been bad with my food” thoughts. Labeling your food and behaviour this way will only lead to self destruction, shame and binging. Similar to what I mentioned above in point 3, avoid negative emotions surrounding food. Think purely about eating nutrient dense food to fuel your mind, body and soul.